Up until fairly modern times, people in western countries have basically believed that the Bible was God's Word, and, by and large, believed what it said.
This was certainly true for views of ancient history, with the majority of both scientists and theologians believing in a literal Creation, the Fall, and the Flood. Now, however, the tables are turned, and Christians are hard pressed to find a denomination, seminary, or even a church, which holds to a consistently literal view of Genesis. Many Christian “Scholars” consider such a stand to be “unscholarly,” and rush to reinterpret Genesis to agree with secular scientific views.
Historically, this compromise started in the early 1800's, with the denial of the Global Flood. But this doctrine doesn't stand by itself. If the Flood did not cover the world, then it did not lay down the world's sedimentary rock, and therefore this rock must have been laid down slowly over long periods of time. Thus the Biblical doctrine of the young earth was abandoned. The fossils in these "old" sediments could only be interpreted as having lived over the same vast ages, and could not have been created as Genesis records. Thus the Biblical doctrine of creation died. The trickle-down effect continues today, with more and more doctrines being denied or re-stated.
But there is hardly a doctrine in Scripture more clearly stated than that of the Global Flood. In Chapters 6-10 of Genesis, the words and phrases used to describe the Flood can be interpreted in no other legitimate way.
Of course, some of the words, such as “all flesh died” (7:21 ) might be interpreted as meaning all living things within the local area, as modern “scholars” claim, but when a word can have more than one meaning, the context must define its true meaning. And in Genesis 6-10, the context is one of a global flood! Over thirty times, words and phrases of global scope appear. In each case, the primary meaning is one of totality, but when they are all together, the meaning is crystal clear.
Compare this clear teaching with the teachings of Christ and the New Testament writers, and the conclusion is inescapable! Trying to salvage the local flood idea makes nonsense out of New Testament doctrine. For example: The local flood theory implies that the Indians in North America, the natives in Africa, the Scandinavians, the Chinese, etc., were not affected by the flood. They escaped God's judgment on sin. If so, what could Christ possibly have meant when He likened the coming judgment of all men to the judgment of “all” men (Matthew 24:37-79) in the days of Noah? A partial judgment in Noah's day means a partial judgment to come. Scripture does not stand if the flood was not global.
The time has come for Christian “scholars” to swallow their intellectual pride and return to a belief in Scripture--all of it. How much better to receive the approval of our Lord than that of secular colleagues.
When Christians come back to Scripture, they not only will find it doctrinally whole, they will find it scientifically satisfying—far more scientific than the secular view with which they now compromise.
* Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.
Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1991. Does Scripture Require a Global Flood?. Acts & Facts. 20 (8).